Full bloom was announced in Tokyo today, making it the second earliest year on record to reach full bloom status. While the Tokyo's representative tree reached full bloom, the popular cherry blossom spots in Tokyo I visited today were still on their way to full bloom, with the overall percentage of open blossoms to be just around the midway mark. Many of the remaining closed buds were on the brink of opening within the next day or two, which means full bloom is imminent. The temperature was very warm today, which should accelerate the openings of the remaining blossoms. I expect the best viewing of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo to start from today through to the middle of next week, and possibly through till the end of March.

Matt was in Kyoto yesterday and reported that the flowers had just opened. Full bloom in Kyoto is predicted to be in about a week, but the best viewing is expected to start towards the end of this week and continue through the end of March.

Elsewhere in the country, a large percentage of cities from the Kanto region in the east to Kyushu in the south have reported the openings of their first cherry blossoms. Popular sightseeing destinations like Okayama, Kumamoto and Toyama, one of the end points of the Alpine Route, announced the openings of their first cherry blossoms today (March 22), while Nara and Nagasaki opened on March 20 and 21 respectively.

Ueno Park

Approaching Full Bloom

Around half of the cherry blossoms at Ueno Park were opened when I was there this morning. The blossoms had progressed slowly but surely over the week since we reported from here one week ago, and again three days ago. Despite being a touch under the halfway mark to full bloom, many of the blossoms seem ready to explode open within the day, thanks in part to today's warm temperatures. Full bloom is predicted to be in the next few days, and the best viewing is from today through to mid next week.


Approaching Full Bloom

Our last visit here was a week ago, and today, I found the blossoms to be a touch under halfway to full bloom when I was there in the morning. However, today's warm temperatures should encourage the blossoms that are on the brink of opening to do so over the course of the day. I expect the best viewing to start from today and continue through till the middle of next week.

Revived after a hiatus of three years, the Chiyoda Sakura Festival (Chiyoda Sakura Matsuri) will take place from March 24 till April 4. During the festival, the approximately 700 meter long, cherry tree lined Chidorigafuchi Green Way along the moat will be illuminated from 18:00 to 22:00.

Shinjuku Gyoen

Approaching Full Bloom

Shinjuku Gyoen is a popular park in central Tokyo that offers visitors an escape from the busy city. The park is home to over 1000 cherry trees, of which approximately 400 are the mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry trees. I found the mainstream cherry blossoms to be around the midway mark to full bloom today, and expect the best viewing to continue from today through till the middle of next week, possibly till the end of March.

Due to the popularity of Shinjuku Gyoen during the cherry blossom season and to avoid overcrowding, advance ticket reservations are required for park entry on selected days, typically on public holidays and weekends during the sakura season. Advance tickets can be purchased online. Please see the official ticket reservation website for further details (Japanese only).

Inokashira Park

Approaching Full Bloom

Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Kichijoji, about 15 minutes west of Shinjuku Station by express train, Inokashira Park is Japan's first suburban public park, which opened to the public over 100 years ago. The spacious park has approximately 20,000 trees, of which 400 are cherry trees and a large pond. The Inokashira Park Zoo and Ghibli Museum are located in Inokashira Park as well. The best place to see the cherry blossoms is around the pond, and it takes about 15-20 minutes to do a lap of the pond. I found the cherry trees in the park to be approaching full bloom when I was there, and expect the best viewing period to continue through to this weekend and till the middle of next week.